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Monday, December 5, 2022

Oil prices are fluctuating as Russia threatens Ukraine

When oil prices started on Sunday, they were driven up by uncertainty as additional Russian soldiers massed on Ukraine’s borders. However, they plummeted later in the night when news reports suggested that President Biden might contemplate direct negotiations with his Russian counterpart if Russia did not invade.

Trading had remained relatively flat during the previous week as traders awaited a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, which might enable the nation to send millions of gallons of oil to the market in exchange for sanctions relief. However, as tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border have escalated, oil markets have began the evening session trading more than a dollar a barrel higher than the previous day. The market’s volatility was reflected in the fact that prices dropped later on Sunday night, falling by around 50 cents a barrel.

President Biden and other senior American officials have said that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has already chosen to invade Ukraine, despite the prospect of devastating sanctions. President Biden and other senior American officials have stated that Any invasion would almost certainly result in the interruption of Russian natural gas and oil imports to areas of Europe, which would subsequently be followed by a decrease in Western purchases of Russian energy. On the other hand, talks proceeded on a number of fronts.

As soon as a large invasion begins, the United States and many other developed nations will very certainly unleash millions of barrels of oil from their strategic stockpiles. In addition, there has been discussion in Washington about suspending federal fuel taxes. Such efforts could be able to keep gas costs under control, at least for a short period of time.

The national average price of a gallon of gasoline increased by over 4 cents over the previous week to $3.53, which is approximately 90 cents more than the same time last year. In most cases, gasoline prices at the pump are a week or two ahead of global oil price movements.

Last week, despite the increasing risk of violence, the American benchmark oil price dropped by about 2 percent, while the worldwide benchmark price jumped by less than a dollar a barrel. Both benchmarks remain over $90 a barrel, which is the highest level seen since the beginning of 2014.

As traders maintained a tight watch on events on Sunday night, the American oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, was trading about $92 a barrel, while the worldwide Brent benchmark was trading around $94 a barrel, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Although the United States is not a significant importer of Russian oil, Russia, as the world’s third biggest producer behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, contributes nearly one of every ten barrels of oil used by the global economy. Russian oil exports are mostly destined for Europe and Asia, and worldwide markets remain tight as a result of a lack of supply in response to the economic recovery after the Covid-19 outbreak.

The United States’ oil output has progressively grown in recent months, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are considered to have spare capacity in their respective oil fields. However, a nuclear agreement with Iran would be required in order to immediately provide fresh barrels to global markets. The Islamic Republic of Iran possesses up to 80 million barrels of oil in storage that it could sell reasonably rapidly, and it could increase its output to 1.2 million barrels per day within eight months. However, in a market with a capacity of 100 million barrels per day, this would not be sufficient to alleviate shortages if the conflict in Eastern Europe continued for an extended period of time.

David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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